Former England and Tottenham defender Gary Mabbutt was forced to fly back to the UK for surgery after a rat ate part of his foot while he was asleep on holiday in South Africa.
The 57-year-old spent a week in hospital. Mabbutt, who has 16 caps for England, has type 1 diabetes and has little feeling in his feet.
“All the opponents that I’ve played against and I finally get taken out by a rat,” Mabbutt told BBC Radio 5 live.
The incident happened six weeks ago when he was visiting his daughter, who is working at the Kruger National Park.
“I’ve gone to sleep and during the night a rat has come into the bedroom, climbed into the bed and has decided to chew on my foot,” he said.
“It’s made quite a big hole in my toe, going down to the bone, and ate underneath my foot.
“It bit my daughter’s thumb first in the other bedroom, and then she came into me and said ‘Dad, something’s bitten me’. Being in Africa, you think of snakes and scorpions.”
About an hour later, Mabbutt felt a bite on a thumb while sleeping, then saw his foot was covered in blood.
“Unfortunately the rat had had a nice meal and I hadn’t been able to feel it,” he said.
Mabbutt said he still needs daily hospital treatment for his injuries.